The Hawaiian Islands support the greatest levels of biodiversity per unit area in the World. The geological history of the archipelago has allowed certain early colonizing groups to undergo adaptive radiations on successively emergent volcanic islands. I have been studying all of the estimated 425 native species of the beetle family Carabidae (predaceous carabid beetles), and have studied the patterns of extinction in various groups based on historical and present-day collections from the field. Recent collaboration with Dr.
The viticulture and enology steering committee created a quarterly electronic newsletter, Appellation Cornell, to provide in-depth research articles written for laypersons, as well as faculty profiles, student profiles, industry profiles, and brief articles to highlight research, extension, and teaching activities of Cornell's Viticulture and Enology Program to a national and international audience. In its first year, readership comprised 1000 to 1500 online subscribers in 45 states, three Canadian provinces, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Fifty articles were published in 2010.
This project is to study the archaeological work that has been undertaken in American cemeteries and what has been learned by 40 years of research.
Determining the forces responsible for evolution of mating behavior remains a major challenge in evolutionary biology and the study of speciation. We are studying the genetic basis, using gene expression approaches, of cricket song in the Hawaiian genus Laupala, a model behavior involved in the mating system of crickets.
Our consensus paper in Science projected that coral reefs will be unable to grow calcareous skeletons within the next 50 years due to rising carbon dioxide (acidification). Our research paper in PLoS Biology showed for the first time that increases in infectious coral disease can be driven by climate warming. This economically important ecosystem will be destroyed by a combination of warming and acidification in the next few decades.
We research, design, develop, and apply advanced software and hardware tools for monitoring terrestrial and marine wildlife, and use results to assess the potential impacts of human activities on the environment and endangered or threatened species.
Carabid beetles of the genus Mecyclothorax speciate very rapidly in the isolated mountain ranges of Tahiti, with time between speciation as short as 300,000 yr. This very rapid speciation is due to complete isolation of very small populations of these species. All individuals of each species lack flight wings, ensuring that they are tightly tied to small habitat patches.
Based on taxonomic knowledge of the native insect species in Hawaii, it is possible to immediately determine nonnative alien introductions. The ecological impact of these introductions is not currently known, but baseline data on presence are required before any more in-depth study can begin.
Isolated oceanic islands are home to evolutionary radiations composed of species with highly restricted geographic distributions and disproportionate ecological adaptations. Taxonomic research on such groups often uncovers cryptic species diagnosable by only a few specific characters. Comparing the distribution of characters in species of different ages allows us to understand how biodiversity develops during these radiations.
The study of native insect biodiversity on small, isolated tropical islands provides support for conserving native montane ecosystems. These systems provide the water necessary for life on those islands. Native species are restricted to where invasive alien species have not become established, and so biotic survey for natives provides a signal about environmental health.